Border argument goes on

  May 27, 2020 11:07 am Ibrar Younas 1117
Border opening appeared to move a step closer this week after President Akıncı made an agreement in principle with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades to open the checkpoints on June 8, for “ certain categories,” but he was immediately contradicted by the government.

Border argument goes on

Mr Akıncı briefed political leaders and then told the media that following his telephone communication with Mr Anastasiades, they had “envisaged” opening the checkpoints.

“No one has any sort of concern for June 8. What needs to be considered first and foremost is health. If someone from our side wishes to cross to the other side, they will need to have a [Covid-19] test which shows negative, that is not older than 72 hours (three days) old, ” he said.

But deputy prime minister and foreign minister Kudret Özersay, speaking after the meeting, said that the borders would not be opening on June 8, and that a wrong impression had been created. 

Mr Akıncı said there would need to be changes made to the Health Ministry rules for those returning to North Cyprus. “You cannot have a 14 day quarantine period,” Mr Akıncı said. “No one can work or study is either side has a quarantine period.”

Mr Akıncı welcomed earlier remarks by Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and Health Minister Ali Pilli, who had expressed support during the week to opening the checkpoints.
“The whole issue is for our health [officials] to take the necessary measures,” he said. 

The Presidency had stated on Thursday that the two leaders had agreed, that those who would at first be allowed to cross between the borders would be Turkish Cypriots who work, study or are undergoing medical treatment in the South.

He said they had also spoken about ending the “limitations” imposed on TRNC-resident Turkish Cypriots residing in Pile and Greek Cypriots and Maronites whose permanent residencies are in the TRNC and allowing people to cross for humane reasons.

Mr Akıncı also said they had reached consensus for Melten Samani – the general coordinator of the Bicommunal Technical Committees -- and her Greek Cypriot equal – to put together a “road map” as to how border crossing can be returned to normal according to the epidemiological situation.

But Mr Özersay, said that the “decision to open the borders rests with the government. . .even if there is a common underdtanding between [the two leaders]. . .we want to open the borders however the health of the public comes first.”

Dr Özersay then said that the “borders aren’t opening on June 8. There is an attempt to create such an impression.”